10 Surefire Ways to Keep Dogs from Pooping on Your Lawn

If you own a home, or rent one anywhere near a town or city, you’ve probably faced the aggravation of having dogs other than your own poop on your lawn.

dog pooping on grass

When their owners don’t clean up after them, it’s enough to make your blood boil. The nerve of some people!

This naturally leads to direct confrontation which can get ugly.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask to have your property rights respected, but whether you are dealing with flippant dog walkers or just roaming dogs in the neighborhood, you don’t have to put up with piles on your lawn.

Below you’ll find ten surefire methods for reducing or eliminating entirely instances of dogs taking a dump in your yard…

Are You Dealing with Roaming Dogs or Walked Dogs?

Before we get to the list, one thing you should consider real quick is whether you are dealing with roaming or stray dogs pooping on your lawn, or dogs that are being walked by their owners.

For roaming dogs, some methods, like posting a sign, just won’t work. Dogs can’t read and don’t respect signs!

Similarly, more active deterrents like sprinklers or irritants might catch human owners in the crossfire which could lead to more problems.

As always, use your own common sense and best judgment when employing any of the methods below, and where necessary be sure to consult your local laws and codes which might apply.

10 Surefire Ways to Keep Dogs from Pooping in Your Lawn

1. Post Signs

If the dogs you’re dealing with belong to people that are walking them on a leash, one of the first things you should do is post a sign.

You could go with the classic no trespassing sign, but a better option is probably posting one that asks people to be respectful with pictograms showing a circle and slash over a dog that is taking a squat or hiking its leg.

This is a relatively polite way to inform people that they should show more concern over property rights.

If they are decent folk, then hopefully they will usher their dog to another patch of grass when they need to do their business.

But, it obviously won’t do anything to help you against roaming or stray dogs, and some highly entitled people think such signs are an affront anyway.

If someone decides to ignore your sign, you’ll have to switch to more certain active or passive defensive measures.

Also worth mentioning, this is something you should investigate before you stick a pole or stake in the ground and mount a sign on it.

Your local city or county laws might have relevant ordinances regarding signage on residential properties, and if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA you’ll definitely need to check with them for specifics.

2. Use Deterrent Sprays

If you want to give any dog, stray or otherwise, a strong incentive to stay away from your property then deterrent sprays might be just the ticket.

Commercially-available online and sometimes in pet supply stores, these deterrent sprays rely on natural or lab-created ingredients that are highly offensive to dogs.

Ideally, you can spray these liquid solutions (or in some cases sprinkle powder) in areas that dogs frequent, or all around the perimeter of your property in order to form a sort of invisible barrier that will repel dogs.

The vast majority should not harm a dog in any way, but as always the onus is on you to determine whether or not it is safe.

One major drawback to this method is that these sprays might be detectable, and nasty, to humans also!

You and other passersby probably won’t want to smell something that is so horrible it will send a dog running the other direction.

Another problem is that they require more or less constant reapplication as they wear out from exposure to sun, wind and rain. The frequency with which reapplication is necessary depends on the product.

But, all in all, these can be a dependable, unobtrusive and low-impact answer to your pooping problem.

3. Try Natural Dog Deterrents

If you don’t want to go with an over-the-counter solution for repelling dogs, you might try an all-natural one in the form of dog-deterring herbs or other plants.

I know it seems strange considering dogs are attracted to some truly foul-smelling stuff, like urine, poop, vomit and rotting animal carcasses, but certain otherwise pleasant plants seem to have a decidedly negative impact on them.

For instance, citrus trees and shrubs, lavender, marigold, lemon balm and rosemary all seem to deter dogs to various degrees, though they don’t deter all dogs.

Hopefully, you can use them to keep dogs at bay and off your property without stinking up the place and without spending a fortune.

You have two options: obtain fresh or dried versions of herbs or essential oil and deploy them around the perimeter of your property as before, or actually plant live ones in the same locations.

The obvious problem with this approach is that they probably won’t last a long time unless they are live.

And if you plant live plants there will probably be gaps, meaning dogs can just run around them and go elsewhere on your lawn.

But, for certain applications and parcels of a certain size, this might be the ideal solution and is certainly worth a try.

4. Place a Dog-Scaring Decoy

Believe me, the problem of rogue dogs doing their business on people’s properties is nothing new, and accordingly there have already been several solutions developed for just such an occurrence.

One creative technological invention is a sound and light decoy that is designed to startle and scare off dogs, and other animals, hopefully getting them to avoid your place.

These devices consist of a flashbulb-like strobe and a loud siren or horn. They can be activated by remote control, motion, or infrared sensors.

Dogs don’t like to be startled, and they especially don’t like to be startled while they are settling in to do their business.

Hopefully, your repeat offenders will quickly be disincentivized from stopping by your property after you deploy one of these a couple of times.

An added bonus is that, if the dog is being walked by its owner, the noise and light will draw unwanted attention that might shame them into either picking up after their dog or keeping their dog from setting foot, rather paw, on your property in the first place.

5. Lay Mulch

If all of the above methods have failed, or you’d rather go straight to passive protection, you might consider installing some new landscaping in the form of a mulch border near the road or sidewalk.

Dogs typically avoid walking on surfaces that are unstable and irritating, such as the right kind of coarse, sharp mulch.

Although not entirely effective for all dogs, if it is a solid barrier it should prevent at least some from crossing and copping a squat on the grass itself.

At least some owners are more hesitant to let their dogs enter actual landscaping. It’s worth a try if it works for your property.

6. Lay Sharp Gravel

A step up from putting down mulch, laying sharp, pointy gravel is even harder on a dog’s paws, and most dogs will go out of their way to avoid it.

A solid perimeter of gravel at the edge of your property will definitely keep some dogs from crossing.

Now obviously you don’t want to lay anything that is so sharp and hazardous it will actually injure a dog, or at least I hope you don’t…

However, there are some other obvious questions with this method: are you leaving a gap where your sidewalk is?

Are you going to completely enclose the grass on all sides where appropriate to keep dogs out?

This could obviously get very expensive and might be very ugly depending on the layout of your property and what your neighboring terrain features are like.

Still, for a natural and passive method that isn’t too obtrusive gravel is certainly worth consideration.

7. Try Irritants

When you’re done playing Mr. Nice Guy with naughty dogs, it might be time to turn to irritants.

Irritants are one step beyond deterrents; instead of merely smelling repulsive, they cause serious discomfort or pain, but they should cause no lasting injury to a dog.

A couple of decent substances in this category include cayenne pepper powder or other similar pepper powders, and even black pepper. Black pepper, purchased in bulk, is particularly cost-effective.

Liberally sprinkle this stuff around the edge of your property, and when dogs come sniffing and get even a little bit in their nose it should upset them- to say the least!

Now, this is no solution that should be undertaken lightly: it is possible that any true irritant substance could cause serious pain and discomfort to a dog, and this naturally will cause the dog’s owner worry, anxiety and, if they link the incident to your property, serious anger.

Use this stuff responsibly and discreetly lest you escalate a situation.

8. Plant Hedges or Other Natural Obstacles

One of the best defenses against canine intruders is a solid row of hedges or other plants. The thicker, or the thornier, the better!

Now, as usual, nuance is important here. Hedges take time to grow, and the style of the hedge is important.

These need to be solid, gnarled things with branches and foliage going all the way down to the ground in order to prevent dogs from simply walking under them.

Once again, for dogs being walked by owners, the owner should hopefully try to prevent the dog from passing through and getting tangled up. In either case, mission accomplished.

But, if you want a more substantial deterrent and a very obvious message of “keep away” consider planting some seriously thorny bushes along the perimeter of your property in a solid wall.

Dogs will definitely avoid blundering into them once they know they are there, but do consider that dogs that charge into them unknowingly might be seriously injured.

9. Install Remote or Auto-Sprinklers

If you are ready to take direct but decidedly non-lethal action against trespassing dogs, sprinkler systems are ideal.

Lots of dogs like playing in the water, but very few dogs like being suddenly sprayed with water when they aren’t expecting it.

If you have a sprinkler system in your lawn already, you can just set it up to remote activate on command whenever you see a dog sniffing around and preparing to do his business.

If you aren’t at home regularly, or just really want to send a message, you can install proximity-activated sprinklers that are basically purpose designed for just such an occasion.

Whenever a dog, or a person, comes too close these high-tech sprinkler systems activate based on the type of sensor they are equipped with.

Some are motion activated, others use infrared. In any case, if you set them up properly and cover the right approaches any dog that comes too close will get soaked and run off.

Or else the dog’s owner will now have to deal with a wet dog!

Effective, and hilarious, but consider that this too might escalate an already simmering situation with problematic dog walkers.

Also do consider that people who stray too close might get soaked also!

10. Put up a Fence

Last, but certainly not least, is a good old-fashioned fence.

Whether you want a classic picket fence, a utilitarian chain link fence, or an honest-to-goodness privacy fence around your property, all will serve as reliable barriers to canine entry, and also to people.

When you really want the problem to stop, a physical barricade is your best bet but it’s also going to be one of the most expensive no matter which style you choose.

However, fencing has the added advantage of serving as a clear delineator of your curtilage, meaning that anyone who crosses it, or allows their dog to cross it, might rate charges depending on the laws where you live.

If you’re having a hard time dealing with perpetual offenders, this might tip the scales in your favor.

In any case, stray dogs will be kept out unless they dig under or jump over, and owners who somehow let their dogs get on the other side of the fence really can’t complain if the dog should run into one of your other defenses.

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